Formula 1

Fernando Alonso's rumoured switch to Mercedes dismissed by McLaren chiefs

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Less than a week after Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg announced his decision to retire from the sport, the race to replace him at Mercedes is well and truly on.

And yet it seems with every passing day, another potential replacement is ruled out of contention.

On Monday, Red Bull boss Christian Horner dismissed the rumours linking both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen to the vacancy while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also committed himself to stay with the Italian team.

That meant the attention has quickly turned to Fernando Alonso but, unfortunately for Mercedes fans, any potential switch from McLaren doesn't look like happening either.

That is if you believe new McLaren chief Zak Brown, who remains confident the Spanish driver will not be on the move before the start of next season.

"We have a contract with Fernando and he is very happy," Brown told Sky Sports.

"Obviously he wants to be winning races, as do we, but I am not worried about that scenario.

"We are very comfortable where we are at."

A statement echoed by McLaren team principal Eric Boullier, who has warned Alonso against teaming up with Lewis Hamilton again after their turbulent relationship in 2007.

Boullier added: "They are rumours, and everyone loves them. But we have a contract in place.

"I don't think it would be a good move, in a year like this, against Lewis who feels very much at home in Brackley."

But, despite Alonso's boss effectively ruling out the change, another former Spanish F1 driver thinks there is still a chance the double world champion could join Mercedes.

“There is a 50% chance," Pedro De La Rosa told Marca. "I say that because that’s how things work.

“They still don’t have it clear… they haven’t decided. But I’d take him, a top team has to have the best drivers.

“Fernando is what, 35 years old? It doesn’t matter. Schumacher was racing until he was 41. What’s more, he was probably as good as ever.

“It could be an issue, the bad relationship that they had. That’s the down side, but neither of them are the same as in 2007, they’ve matured a lot."

If Mercedes are indeed forced back to the drawing board, Pascal Wehrlein, Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon could now become the new frontrunners to partner Hamilton in 2017.

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